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I am a trombonist and have played in a band for almost 3 years now. I am hoping to continue on by also doubling with the trumpet, and at the same time also continue to play the trombone.

The thing is: many have told me that there will be an embouchure problem if I play two or more brass instruments, but I still want to continue to be a trombone/trumpet player at the same time.

Can someone enlighten me about the pros and cons of doing so?

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3 Answers 3

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Speaking as a brass doubler (trombone is my primary; I play all other brass instruments with varying proficiencies), the main difference between the embouchures for trumpet and trombone has to do with the tone concept.

The trombone itself (and current pedagogy and instrument manufacturing) allows for a very open and dark tone concept, and the fact that tuning can be adjusted easily with the slide helps to allow for this.

If I play trumpet like I play trombone, it will have a very wide open sound, but certain partials will be woefully out of tune. When I play trumpet, I need to treat the oral cavity differently to enable the correction of certain partials with the embouchure. On good instruments less correction will be required, but you still need to be generating the correct amount of tension with your embouchure.

If there are any cons, it really depends on what your level of technique is, what you're aiming for, and how much professional instruction you're getting. Any doubler just needs to remember what instrument they're playing at the time and have a different mindset for each one. If you try to play the trumpet like the trombone, you're going to run into trouble, just as if you started learning trumpet and then played trombone like you were playing trumpet. Private instruction will let you know if you're developing any bad habits on any one instrument.

On the other hand, if you're self taught and just want to play ska music with your friends, chances are your technique isn't on a level where it'll make a difference.

The pros here are pretty obvious: you learn another instrument, you start opening your ears up to that instrument, you get a different perspective on music you already know, and it's just good general music practice to read notes in a different clef and transfer generic musical knowledge from one instrument to another.

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Nice one, very inspiring overall for me :) Anyway, I am just hoping to do continue playing the trombone (and not affect my tone) but also double with the trumpet, but this answer is quite clear, thanks! –  Hydra Apr 17 '12 at 7:36
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And you can get more work if you can play more than one instrument competently. –  Wheat Williams Oct 7 '12 at 12:44
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The brass players I know and play with all seem to double on some other brass instrument. While it may take some time to adapt, I think it benefits to be able to know the different instruments.

Think of it this way if you drive a car: In your own car you get to know the clutch and know when to shift gears, then when you drive another car you suddenly get surprised by how high the clutch is and you may be jumping all the way home. But if you drive both cars regularly, your feet will know what to do.

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btw I am a pianist that also plays organ and whatnot, and people told me that playing organ would ruin my piano technique. I learned that the organ taught my fingers something very valuable when I transferred it to the piano. –  Thomas Bryla Apr 16 '12 at 10:57
    
Hmm, piano/organ is using fingers to play, but brass instruments use the mouth, and the embouchure for the different instrument differs. –  Hydra Apr 16 '12 at 12:29
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@Hydra Even though piano and organ both use fingers to play, the techniques are very, very different. I think it's definitely a good comparison on Thomas's part. –  jadarnel27 Apr 16 '12 at 12:36
    
I see. While it is indeed a good comparison, but I am hoping that someone does explain the pros and cons to me about doubling with trombone and trumpet, especially someone that tried it before. I do want to double both instruments, but I don't want it to affect my sound quality of either trombone or trumpet. –  Hydra Apr 16 '12 at 12:39
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I am currently trying to double high and low brass. My trumpet playing isn't great yet, but T-bone is unaffected. Not problem. I've been playing T-bone for years and marched the previous season. My band no longer marches T-bone, sad, but I though why not learn high brass. So I'm learning mellophone and trumpet. It is exactly like piano and organ or piano and synth or piano and harpsichord. I play both, more piano than organ, but the non-weighted keys give my fingers a more precise attack and release. My piano playing benefits greatly. I see the same in brass but with different aspects of course. I can hit high notes easier on T-bone now. And I've leaned to lip up where it was otherwise unnecessary on T-bone. ( I already read both clefs but it otherwise would have been good to do so. I can read T-bone in treble now)

Good luck

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